Last update 11:56:33 AM
NCRI - On Saturday December 10, on the International Human Rights Day, and on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s meeting with Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki in Washington DC, in a call to President Obama, American and European dignitaries urged annulment of the December 31 deadline on Ashraf and the forcible relocation of its residents inside Iraq, warning of an impending massacre and human catastrophe in Ashraf. (Video Clip)
Speakers to the meeting were: Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the Iranian Resistance; André Glucksmann, author and a member of New France Philosophers; Andrew Card, President Bush Chief of Staff (2001-2006); Bill Richardson, New Mexico Governor (2003-2011) and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Mitchell Reiss, U.S. State Department Head of Strategy Development (2003 – 2005); Alan Dershowitz, one of the most prominent advocates of individual rights and the most well-known criminal lawyer in the world; Geoffrey Robertson QC, prominent British jurist and former appeal judge at the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone; Sid Ahmed Ghozali, former Prime Minister of Algeria; Patrick Kennedy, U.S. Congressman (1995-2011); Senator Ingrid Betancourt, Columbian presidential candidate; General David Phillips, U.S. Military Police Commander (2008-2011); Jean-François Le Garrett, Mayor of Paris 1st District; Aude de Thuin, the founder of Women’s Forum for Economics; Cynthia Fleury, West contemporary philosopher.
Below is speech by Hon. Andrew Card:
Thank you very much. Madame Rajavi, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen who care an awful lot about Camp Ashraf, next week the United States celebrates the 220th anniversary of the adoption of the Bill of Rights to our Constitution. One of the greatest human rights documents in the history of the world. It allows me to practice my faith, speak freely, to gather with people who share my concerns, allows me to petition government, it allows for freedom of the press. That anniversary probably will not be celebrated very much in the United States, but it is something that would very much like to be celebrated in Camp Ashraf. Next week, President Obama will be meeting with the prime minister of Iraq.
I pray that President Obama is not silent. I pray that he uses that first amendment to the Constitution to express his opinion. I pray that he recognizes your gathering. I pray that he petitions the government of Iraq. And I pray that he is not silent, he is cognizant and that he is courageous. Because you see the United States has a disproportionate responsibility. The United States promised to protect the people of Camp Ashraf. The United States promised that the people of Camp Ashraf would have the Geneva protections of a protected people. The United States has an obligation to follow through in that promise, and it has a responsibility to make sure that Prime Minister Maliki fully understands the promise and that there are consequences if it’s not kept.
There are many reasons that the people of Camp Ashraf deserve to be protected. There are powerful people, not powerful by might but powerful by example, by courage, by empowering women, by respecting rights, by inviting freedom, by allowing speech, by recognizing all faiths, by calling all people as having rights and benefits, not just a select few. The people of Camp Ashraf have demonstrated commitment. They overcame the cynicism of a U.S. government when we were skeptical of their commitment to be allies in the war on terror. When we were skeptical that they would not lay down their weapons, in fact they turned them over. They overcame the skepticism of the United States and the United States made a promise. The United States has an obligation to keep its promise.
The United States also has an obligation to recognize I think a growing legal recognition that the MEK, the PMI, is not a terrorist organization. The courts in the United States have spoken and challenged the State Department to make the decision. And the decision is ripe. In fact it’s overripe. And it should be announced before Prime Minister Maliki meets with President Obama. And the State Department should say the MEK is not a terrorist organization and they should be delisted.
So I don’t want next week to be remembered as a week where America stood by with silence, or acquiescence, and caused human rights to be violated. Instead I want next week to be a week where America celebrates the Bill of Rights, the First Amendment and the protected freedoms for the people of the MEK and Camp Ashraf. Thank you very, very much. (Video Clip)
Iran News in Brief - 23 April 2015